As much as I enjoyed the holiday season when I was a kid, there are so many more fun activities available to families now than there were back then. Between holiday parades, Christmas tree lightings (municipalities), festival of tree events, gingerbread contests and more, Otsego County offers up plenty of holiday cheer for the young at heart these days.

Here's something fun you can add to your holiday "to-do" list and this is an experience that will most likely have you smiling from ear to ear. The Cooperstown and Charlotte Valley Railroad is offering up an opportunity to get on the holiday "North Pole Express" train at the Milford, NY depot and take a scenic ride to the North Pole to see Santa himself.

The Milford Depot, train, and even rail tracks have been beautifully decorated for the occasion with lighting and displays to banish anything remotely Grinch-like. It's holiday cheer at its finest and there will of course be Christmas music to enjoy along the way and yummy refreshments.

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To get the full effect of the holiday lights and decore, the North Pole Express is a 2-hour ride that departs the Milford depot at 6:30 pm and will travel to Cooperstown and back to Milford.

Here's what you need to know:
- Trains are heated but dress warmly
- Reservations and Prepayment are Required by calling 607-432-2429 (leave a message)
- This is very popular and seating is limited so don't wait to make your reservation
- Cost: Adults $22, Seniors $21, Children (3-12) $19, Under 3 FREE
- North Pole Express dates are: December 4, 11, and 18.

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13 Upstate Food Favorites You Can't Buy Outside of New York State

Upstate New York is the home to many fantastic food favorites. Mention sponge candy to somebody 100 miles outside Buffalo and you are probably going to get a blank stare. Mention a Michigan hot dog to anybody not from around Plattsburgh. Same stare. So here is a list of 13 regional food icons that you cannot buy outside of the empire State.

I will add this asterisk. You certainly can buy some of these items online, like the Saratoga Peppermint Pigs. Perhaps the Stix and Sauce item is known by another name somewhere in the country. Salt potatoes may have gravitated elsewhere but if so nobody knows where they started. And Grandma Brown. Well, you can buy that sweet lady's baked beans on eBay. But for the most part you would have to walk into a store or restaurant in Upstate New York to enjoy these "regional" fan favorite foods.

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